Solar Vistas Eco Community
Posted in Solar Power
The first solar-powered development in Costa Rica is breaking ground in the remote beach town of Malpais. Designed primarily for Americans and Europeans who either plan to move to Costa Rica, or as vacation homes, they will be constructed with a variety of green building techniques. The company’s website includes a section which details the eco-friendly ideas to be built into the houses, and even lists their suppliers.
Geoff McCabe, owner of Tropisphere Real Estate, which donates 10% of its commissions to the local community, and also the company’s CEO, says “We aren’t at all worried about competition. We welcome competitors and are actively trying to educate other builders on how to be more green. We’d love to see real estate developers in Costa Rica starting to compete on how energy efficient and eco-friendly their houses are! Costa Rica is the ideal country for something like that.”
Dan Balogh, the president of Solar Vistas, who is an aspiring permaculturist, has lived in the Malpais area for eight years, working as both a surf instructor and as owner of vegetarian restaurant Jungle Juice. Says Balogh, “Green building in the tropics is different than in a cooler climate. We will build houses that are low maintenance and as energy efficient as possible, avoiding fancy technology wherever possible, and instead focusing on basics such as providing abundant shade and air flow. The jungle climate here is hard on electronics and complex systems, so we will make something simple and elegant.”
As for exactly what solar power technology the firm plans to use for the houses, the company says it still hasn’t decided. According to Jimmy Lee, an ex-Greenpeace team leader, and Solar Vistas’s Vice President of Sales, “Costa Rica doesn’t have a lot of choices for solar power suppliers and materials, and we’re concerned that solar technology prices are going to drop significantly in the next couple of years, and don’t want to over-pay now. We will probably pick a technology as reliable and as simple as possible, to keep maintenance easy, since the beaches of Malpais are in a fairly remote part of Costa Rica.”
Solar Vistas sees a huge and growing market for solar powered and eco-friendly homes in Costa Rica. Said McCabe, “Millions of baby-boomers will be retiring in the next decade and looking for a better life near the beach, and Costa Rica has become the top real estate pick for Americans buying overseas. Malpais and Santa Teresa were recently voted by Forbes Magazine as one of the top ten beaches in the world, so there’s a lot of interest in this part of Costa Rica. This area appeals to the fantasy in our clients minds, about what living in the tropics should be, that is, white sand beaches with monkeys in the trees, yet lots of world-class restaurants within a few minutes drive. Costa Rica also tends to attract the type of people who care about nature and the environment, so we think they will love what we’re doing, and meanwhile we’re trying to promote more green building in this part of Costa Rica.”
Further details can be found on the company’s website: Solar Vistas Costa Rica.